As the world seeks to realign and define the new normal, corporate real estate, the businesses they serve and their customers came together to look for answers to how we all fit together.

How do people, place, and purpose help to fulfil this aim? How do CRE, HR and IT continue to work together and better? How do we promote and encourage ESG and DEI efforts to become ingrained in business? These were some of the questions asked of leaders at the event, to give them the knowledge and expertise to lead the change and define the future.

Sarah Speroff, Project Director at MovePlan, who attended the event, said: “Overall the event was a positive experience and the camaraderie and eagerness for connection was palpable. Attendees were both eager to learn, and ready to discuss and challenge some of the key points in some panels. This led to enhanced learning and immersion for the other attendees, even though sometimes it was a little contentious.”

Sarah said the event put into focus the uncertain times we are living in, and the desperation of trying to find answers to key challenges in the industry. However, she said the most impactful discussions were around sustainability and the opportunities for MovePlan to support our clients to become more sustainable.

She said: “I’ve been passionate about sustainability and the environment most of my life, but in recent years, with lack of government support for critical environmental issues, it’s becoming even more of a focus for me.

“MovePlan has an opportunity, as a consultant in the field of change, to help support our clients’ journeys to a more sustainable future and make a positive impact in the projects we work on.”

Attendees at the event were inspired by panellists who spoke about the sustainable steps they have taken in designs, programming and overall RE strategy.

Sarah said: “Reduction of embodied carbon is critical. Super simple choices like selecting flooring or drywall that has lower embodied carbon can make a difference for years to come. Why? Where material comes from and how it’s produced, and materials used, etc. can all have an impact on the environment.

“If you have a project in Washington, DC, purchasing drywall from Pittsburgh, PA vs. China may seem trivial. But the emissions output to transport drywall from Pittsburgh to DC is much lower that the emissions output for that same drywall coming from China. These simple but intentional choices are all part of the conversation when it comes to creating a more sustainable future in our industry.”

Sustainability enthusiasts at the summit highlighted the importance of acting now, before time runs out.

Sarah agreed, saying: “Every organisation in the world has an opportunity to make even just a small change that would have a lasting, positive environmental impact. We all have a responsibility to ourselves, the planet, and its inhabitants to take action.

“We won’t end climate change by suggesting to a client to redeploy or donate their office furniture – but it’s a step. And we have to start somewhere.”